Saturday, May 28, 2011
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.7 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 120.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Obama Campaign’s Bin Laden Strategy is Clear.(WhiteHouseDossier).It’s becoming increasingly obvious that President Obama will have Osama Bin Laden on the campaign trail with him as he seeks to buff up his weak credentials as a foreign policy tough guy.The president, whose original strategy of coddling dictators has failed to gain results and who was seen early in his presidency bowing to every satrap in sight, will brandish his killing of Bin Laden as proof that he is strong on national security and foreign policy.As if this single act could erase the rest of it. It’s like complimenting someone on their sweater before you punch them in the face.He’s cutting the defense budget during time of war, has been inconsistent and indecisive on the Arab uprisings, can’t defeat Qaddafi and his band of camels and Amazon warriors, is undermining Israel – our key military ally in the region, has signalled to the Taliban that we’re desperate to get out of Afghanistan, and is trying to hand of U.S. world leadership to Europe, which effectively disarmed itself years ago.But he killed Bin Laden.The best evidence of the importance the Obama camp places on the Bin Laden killing comes from comments this week by Vice President Biden at a Democratic fundraiser in New Hampshire. From a report in the Los Angeles Times.
Biden laid out three reasons why he was optimistic about the 2012 campaign: the flawed Republican vision, the return of 2008 “surge” voters who stayed home in the 2010 midterm election, and the growing confidence he said Americans feel in President Obama’s leadership.
On the latter point, the vice president said the decision to order the raid that killed Bin Laden was a major turning point, calling it “the boldest undertaking any president has undertaken on a single event in modern history.”“The American people no longer confuse being contemplative with having courage,” he said. “The American people watched him execute the decision — not only putting the lives of those special operators on the line, but his entire future on the line as president of the United States of America. And he didn’t hesitate.”It was that decision, Biden said, which pre-empted the emerging campaign from Republicans to portray Obama as weak and indecisive. And it has led Americans to change how they’ve viewed other decisions he’s made, like the auto industry bailout and stimulus program.
“The American people now … have a crystal clear picture of how strong and decisive this president is. And that’s the last piece of the puzzle that had to be put in place for this great man,” Biden said.
Last week at a fundraising rally in Boston, Obama took credit for the operation while pretending he was only commending the troops.We’re taking the fight directly to al Qaeda. And because of the bravery of our men and women in uniform, Osama bin Laden will never again threaten the United States of America.
If you mention this at a POLITICAL rally, then you are POLITICIZING it. Please don’t hide your politicking behind the Navy Seal Team 6, Mr. President.Hmmmm....What's the chances of him releasing the Osama pics when ratings go down for him?Read the full story here.
- Poll: 12% of Israeli Jews consider Obama to be pro-Israel.(JPost).US President Barack Obama’s attempt to portray himself as pro-Israel in a high-profile speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee on Sunday did not succeed, according to a Smith Research poll sponsored by The Jerusalem Post.The speech was intended to correct impressions that he was hostile toward Israel, which may have been reinforced by a landmark address about the Middle East that he delivered at the State Department last Thursday, and by a tense press conference at the White House on Friday with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.In the AIPAC speech, Obama chose not to specifically rule out the “return” to Israel of millions of descendants of Palestinian refugees, and did not announce his first visit to Israel as president, as many hoped he would. But he did insist that Israel must remain the Jewish “homeland,” indicating opposition to the Palestinian demand for refugees’ “return, spoke about Jews’ yearning for Israel through the centuries, listed many ways in which his administration was helping Israel and clarified his position on creating a Palestinian state based on the pre-1967 lines with mutually agreed land swaps.When asked in the poll whether they saw Obama’s administration as more pro-Israel, more pro-Palestinian or neutral, just 12 percent of Israeli Jews surveyed said more pro-Israel, while 40% said more pro-Palestinian, 34% said neutral and 13% did not express an opinion.Hmmmm....I'm surprised there are still that many who believe in him,haven't learned anything from WWII.Read the full story here.
- "Spreading the wealth"?Obama sends money for Libyan refugees, invites rebels to set up DC office.(RefugeeResettlementwatch).From Xinhuanet:
BEIJING, May 25 (Xinhuanet) — A senior U.S. diplomat says President Barack Obama has invited the Libyan rebels’ National Transitional Council to open an office in Washington DC.Speaking in the de-facto rebel capital of Benghazi, “U.S. Assistant Secretary-of-State for Near Eastern Affairs”, Jeffrey Feltman, says the invitation marked an “important milestone” in the relationship with the NTC, and that he was pleased they had accepted the offer. Several countries, including France and Italy, have recognized the NTC, while the U.S., the European Union and others have established a diplomatic presence in Benghazi. In addition, Feltman announced that the US has given more than 50-million U.S. dollars to aid the Libyan people.He said, “We’ve given today 53.5 (m) million (U.S.) dollars to address the humanitarian crisis that stems from Gadhafi’s attack on his people. This is to international partners who are working in part inside Libya and in part with the refugees who are in Tunisia and Egypt. So, it’s addressing refugee needs outside Libya’s borders, it’s addressing the needs of the people of Misrata and others, it’s through international partners.”I see that Obama already dipped into the ERMA funds* he has at his discretion back in March for $15 million to Libya, so there must be some new redistribution of taxpayer dollars to “partners” in North Africa in recent days. Also, Libyan rebels traveled to Washington and London earlier this month looking for money, here, guess they hit the US taxpayer-supported lottery!We should be happy in one regard, we aren’t airlifting the “refugees” to the US (yet!).*Readers the Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance fund is at about $100 million each year, but I cannot find anything at the moment to tell us how much Obama has already spent.Hmmmm.....Any mention of congressional approval anywhere?Read the full story here.
- A Coming Arab Winter?The Fatah-Hamas deal may presage a new Iranian approach to the Middle East.(WeeklyStandard).It can’t give many Americans much lasting pleasure that the Israeli prime minister humbled our commander in chief this week on his home turf. To be sure, a president who seems to relish provoking public confrontations with an ally may have had it coming, but in the end Netanyahu’s speech before Congress won’t satisfy too many Israelis either—or for that matter many other Middle Easterners who have come to depend on American stewardship. The fact that an Israeli leader makes the case for American exceptionalism and U.S. power better than Barack Obama is a signal that Washington has forsaken its traditional role in the Middle East at a dangerous time.Netanyahu was only the first to state the obvious in public, but other U.S. allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, convinced that the Americans are living in a fantasy world, are also starting to strike out on their own. If no one knows yet what new architectures and anatomies the Arab Spring will engender, putative U.S. allies and genuine adversaries, states, and even non-state actors like the Muslim Brotherhood are scrambling for position.Iranian aggression, and not the peace process, as Netanyahu was careful to remind his American audiences this past week, is still the key regional issue. With the administration turning on traditional American allies, some observers are starting to see similarities between Washington and Tehran, in one important respect. “If Obama says the status quo is unsustainable,” says Martin Kramer of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “and won’t do anything to sustain it, then Washington, like Iran, is an anti-status quo power. Others have to take it upon themselves to defend the status quo.”Netanyahu was only the first to state the obvious in public, but other U.S. allies, like Egypt and Saudi Arabia, convinced that the Americans are living in a fantasy world, are also starting to strike out on their own. If no one knows yet what new architectures and anatomies the Arab Spring will engender, putative U.S. allies and genuine adversaries, states, and even non-state actors like the Muslim Brotherhood are scrambling for position.Iranian aggression, and not the peace process, as Netanyahu was careful to remind his American audiences this past week, is still the key regional issue. With the administration turning on traditional American allies, some observers are starting to see similarities between Washington and Tehran, in one important respect. “If Obama says the status quo is unsustainable,” says Martin Kramer of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, “and won’t do anything to sustain it, then Washington, like Iran, is an anti-status quo power. Others have to take it upon themselves to defend the status quo.”Because Riyadh no longer trusts the Americans to take on Iran, a Saudi initiative led by Prince Bandar, the Wall Street Journal reports, is putting together a large alliance, including Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Central Asian states, to stand against the Islamic Republic.In the Arabic-speaking states, there’s also a proposed expansion of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council to include one North African nation, Morocco, and another from the Levant, Jordan (which would gather all of the region’s hereditary rulers—sheikhs and kings and sultans and emirs—under one umbrella). The Arab press is awash with rumors that the GCC’s leading member, Saudi Arabia, has promised Rabat and Amman large influxes of cash so long as they resist Washington’s entreaties to reform—reform that, in the Saudi view, would pave the way for their own demise and eventually the fall of the House of Saud. In any case, this onetime regional organization has now become a de facto alliance of pro-U.S. states that no longer believes it can count on the Americans to advance their interests. The major Sunni Arab players outside the enlarged GCC would be Fatah, now reconciled with Hamas, and Egypt, formerly the central pillar of Washington’s Middle East policy, and now after thirty years once again up for grabs.Iran can profit from the upheavals, according to Kramer, “by building linkage with the Muslim Brotherhood.” In other words, with Syria’s problems and the possible fallout for Hezbollah, Tehran would supplement or substitute its Shia crescent with a Muslim Brotherhood crescent—a coalition stretching from Turkey’s AKP to Hamas and Egypt’s newly empowered Islamists.“The fewer Shia there are in the immediate surroundings, and there are virtually none in Egypt and the Palestinian territories, the easier that is to do,” says Kramer. “The Muslim Brotherhood has their usual reservations about Shia, but they’re not anti-Shia like al Qaeda. The landscape of the Middle East is too broken for coalitions to have only the like-minded. If Saudi Arabia and Israel could be in the American circle, the Brotherhood could be in the Iranian crescent. The Iranians and the Muslim Brotherhood both have an interest in reconstituting an arc of resistance.”Given the Obama administration’s ambiguous statements regarding the Muslim Brotherhood and other regional Islamist movements, it seems Washington is preparing for the likelihood of a region entirely remade in the image of political Islam, its Shia as well as its Sunni versions. Whether the White House is prepared to do anything to protect American interests and allies against a political current that is anti-American at its core is another question. Netanyahu’s speeches, Saudi diplomacy, and Egyptian brinksmanship are evidence that traditional U.S. allies do not believe Obama is up to the task.Hmmmm......Understatement of the Century.Read the full story here.
- Arab League to seek UN membership for Palestine.(Ynet). Addressing Arab League meeting, Palestinian president expresses fear UN bid for recognition would result in financial sanctions, urges Arab leaders to serve as 'safety net.'An Arab League committee decided on Saturday to seek full UN membership for a Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, with east Jerusalem as its capital, it said in a statement.The Arab League's peace process follow-up committee said it would request membership for the state of Palestine at the UN General Assembly's meeting in New York in September.Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said there were "no shared foundations" for peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood was his only option. Addressing an Arab League meeting in Doha Abbas expressed concern that taking the diplomatic step opposed by the United States and Israel could result in financial sanctions and urged Arab states to fill any gap. While he left room for a compromise, saying a resumption of peace talks on terms acceptable to the Palestinians would avoid the UN move, the remarks were some of Abbas's bleakest yet on the likelihood of more negotiations. Abbas was speaking at a meeting of the Arab League's peace process committee convened in the wake of major Middle East policy speeches in Washington by US President Barack Obama and PM Netanyahu. The Palestinian leadership has said Netanyahu's ideas for peace with the Palestinians, outlined in a speech to the US Congress on Tuesday, put more obstacles in the path of an already moribund peace process. "We see from the conditions that Netanyahu laid out that there are no shared foundations ... for negotiations. Our fundamental option is to go to the United Nations," Abbas said in his opening remarks. "This is no secret, we have said it to the Americans and the Europeans and the Israelis, our only option is to go to the United Nations," he said. He expressed fear that the step would lead some states to "try to impose a siege upon us", though he did not say to which governments he was referring. "We hope that there will be a safety net from the Arab states," he said."The sound path is going to the United Nations and political struggle," Moussa said. "I believe that negotiations have become futile in light of all of these nos. What will you negotiate on?" Hmmmmm.......Psalm 83 and the "Samson" option.Read the full story here.
- Afghan police commander killed in blast. Daood Daood among the dead after Taliban suicide attack on compound of a northern provincial governor.(Al-Arabia).A large blast has hit the compound of the governor of Afghanistan's northern Takhar province, killing at least six people, including General Daood Daood, the regional police commander, and several German soldiers, officials say.A suicide bomber detonated his explosives-laden vest in a room in the office complex within the compound where high-ranking Afghan officials were meeting members of the international coalition forces on Saturday, Faiz Mohammad Tawhedi, a spokesman for the provincial governor, Abdul Jabar Taqwa, told the Associated Press news agency."What we know is the guy who carried out the attack had a police uniform on," Tawhedi said. "How he entered the meeting room and why he was not searched, we don't know."Dr Hassain Basech, the health director of Takhar, confirmed the deaths of Daood; General Shah Jahan Noori, a provincial police chief; a secretary to Taqwa, the Takhar governor; and one of Daood's bodyguards.Basech said 10 other Afghans were wounded, including Taqwa who suffered burns to his head, hands and back.Daood, the most prominent casualty of Saturday's bombing, was a former deputy interior minister for counternarcotics.Before that, he was a close associate of Ahmad Shah Masood, the influential leader who commanded the Northern Alliance and died in an al-Qaeda suicide bombing two days before the September 11, 2001, attacks that provoked the US invasion.Al Jazeera's Qais Azimy, reporting from Kabul, said Daood is "the highest Afghan security official to have been killed since 2001"."This attack is a big shock for the officials here in Afghanistan. One top official described the incident to me as a 'nuclear attack' against Afghan security forces."The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement released later on Saturday that two ISAF service members had died, adding that it is their policy to "defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities".The German military told the online magazine Der Spiegel that two German troops were killed and that General Markus Kneip, ISAF's commander for northern Afghanistan, was wounded along with three of his soldiers.Major Tim James, an ISAF spokesman, confirmed that Kneip was in the compound's office complex at time of attack but had survived.The Taliban claimed responsibility for the Takhar attack, saying that it had been planning for months as part of its spring offensive called Badr - a reference to a famous battle in Islamic history.A separate violent incident was reported on Saturday in the ongoing battle between the Taliban and Afghan security forces in the northeastern province of Nuristan.A Taliban spokesman told Al Jazeera that 18 of their fighters have been killed in the past three days of initense fighting, and that the group has also captured a number of Afghan policemen.Hmmmmm....Ex deputy interior minister for counternarcotics,Karzai's brother will be happy.Read the full story here.
- Iranian advisors helping Assad "The Reformer" to crush Syrian protests: Report.(AlArabia).Iran is sending trainers and advisers to Syria to help crush anti-government demonstrations threatening to topple Iran’s most important ally in the region, The Washington Post reported late Friday.The influx of Iranian manpower was adding to a steady stream of aid from Tehran, the newspaper said, citing unnamed US officials.That aid includes not only weapons and riot gear but also sophisticated surveillance equipment that is helping Syrian authorities track down opponents through their Facebook and Twitter accounts, the sources said.Iranian-assisted computer surveillance is believed to have led to the arrests of hundreds of Syrians seized from their homes in recent weeks, the paper said.According to one diplomat and US officials, the Iranian military trainers are being brought to Damascus to instruct Syrians in techniques Iran used against the nation’s "Green Movement"’ in 2009, the Post reported.Officers from Iran’s notorious Quds Force have played a key role in Syria’s crackdown since at least mid-April, it said.US sanctions imposed against the Quds Force in April had been intended as a warning to Iran to halt the practice, said the Post.Damascus has ignored growing Western condemnation and sanctions and looks determined to crush the pro-democracy revolt by sending out security forces and tanks to subdue unrest it blames on armed groups backed by foreign powers.Hmmmm....Reaction of the 'defender of the oppressed"......Silence?Read the full story here.
- The Arab Spring from a Counter-Terrorism Perspective.(IsraelSeen).By Dr. Boaz Ganor World War III is occurring right now. It is not only a war of ideas, it is a religious war – not between Islam and the rest of the world, but first and foremost a war within the religion of Islam. It is a war of the culture of Islamic radicalism against the rest of the world, which includes the majority of Muslims worldwide.
■A few months ago, White House Counter-Terrorism Advisor John Brennan said, “Islamists and Jihadists are not our enemy.” In response, I wrote an op-ed in the Jerusalem Post which explains that moderate Arab leaders know that Jihadists and Islamists are the enemy. By saying that Islamists and Jihadists are not the enemy, the United States – the spearhead of Western society and the protector of liberal values in the world – is sending a confusing message to its allies worldwide.
■In the competition between the Iranian axis and the pragmatic axis, the Iranian axis is winning. Hizbullah is growing stronger in Lebanon and Hamas is gaining power and scoring points in Gaza for the Iranian axis. Also, the decision of Turkey to choose the Iranian axis is becoming quite clear.
■Dr. Condoleezza Rice has said that her next book is going to refer to a pillar of American foreign policy: the introduction of democracy in the Muslim world. My upcoming book will address exactly the opposite. It will be about how terrorists and fundamentalists are misusing the democratic apparatus of the state in order to promote their goals. When fundamentalists win in democratic elections, it is one man, one vote, one time.
■Is there anything we can do in order to change this negative outcome? I would call to immediately establish a second Marshall Plan, similarly to what happened after World War II, for those new regimes being established in the Muslim world and to support other pragmatic regimes that have not yet faced internal revolutions. Since imposing democracy on these societies might be counterproductive and dangerous, it should be an incremental process. At the end of the day, only Muslims can and should educate Muslims.Now read the rest of this must read posting!Read the full story here.
- Hundreds of women report rapes by Qaddafi forces.(Al-Arabia).At first, the responses to the questionnaire about the trauma of the war in Libya were predictable, if tragic: 10,000 people suffering post-traumatic stress, 4,000 children with psychological problems. Then came the unexpected: 259 women said they had been raped by militiamen loyal to Muammar Qaddafi. Dr. Seham Sergewa had been working with children traumatized by the fighting in Libya but soon found herself being approached by troubled mothers who felt they could trust her with their dark secret.The first victim came forward two months ago, followed by two more. All were mothers of children the London-trained child psychologist was treating, and all described how they were raped by militiamen fighting to keep Qaddafi in power.Dr. Sergewa decided to add a question about rape to the survey she was distributing to Libyans living in refugee camps after being driven from their homes. The main purpose was to try to determine how children were faring in the war; she suspected many were suffering from PTSD.To her surprise, 259 women came forward with accounts of rape. They all said the same thing."I was really surprised when I started visiting these areas, first by the number of people suffering from PTSD, including the large number of children among them, and then by the number of women who had been raped from both the east and west of the country," Dr. Sergewa said in an interview with The Associated Press.Rape has been a common weapon of war throughout the ages, most recently in conflicts from the Balkans in Europe to Sri Lanka in Asia and in sub-Saharan Africa, where Congo has been described as the epicenter of sexual crimes.Across the world, rape carries a stigma. But it can be a deadly one in conservative Muslim societies like Libya, where rape is considered a stain on the honor of the entire family. Victims can be abandoned by their families and, in some cases, left in the desert to die. Speaking to a journalist is out of the question.Dr. Sergewa's questionnaire was distributed to 70,000 families and drew 59,000 responses."We found 10,000 people with PTSD, 4,000 children suffering psychological problems and 259 raped women," she said, adding that she believes the number of rape victims is many times higher but that woman are afraid to report the attacks.The women said they had been raped by Qaddafi's militias in numerous cities and towns: Benghazi, Tobruk, Brega, Bayda and Ajdabiya (where the initial three mothers hail from) and Saloum in the east; and Misrata in the west.Some just said they had been raped. Some did not sign their names; some just used their initials. But some felt compelled to share the horrific details of their ordeals on the back of the questionnaire.Earlier this month, the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Luis Moreno-Campo, said he has "strong evidence" of crimes against humanity committed by Qaddafi's regime, including serious allegations of "women arrested and gang raped."One of Libya's leading psychiatrists, Dr. Ali M. Elroey, told the AP that he has set up three mobile teams to treat trauma victims of the war in their homes or in temporary shelters: one for PTSD, one for other psychological problems and one for rape survivors.Dr. Elroey said they need to reach out to people in their homes because the stigma associated with psychiatric care is leaving large numbers of patients untreated.His outpatient clinic at Benghazi's psychiatric hospital has treated more than 600 patients in two months, many responding to radio and newspaper advertisements offering psychiatric help for war trauma. He said most were women, though none had acknowledged being raped.Dr. Sergewa said she has interviewed 140 of the rape survivors in various states of mental anguish, and has been unable to persuade a single victim to prosecute. None would speak to the AP about her ordeal, even with a promise to hide her identity."Some I diagnosed with acute psychosis; they are hallucinating," Dr. Sergewa said. "Some are very depressed; some want to commit suicide. Some want their parents to kill them because they don't want their families to bear the shame."Some already have been abandoned by their husbands and fear seeking treatment could get them ostracized or cast out of their communities. Others have kept the rapes a secret for fear of retribution from spouses. "They fear their husbands will take them out to the desert and leave them there to die," Dr. Sergewa said.It is likely more rapes could occur as the conflict drags on, Dr. Sergewa said."They are using rape not just to hurt women but to terrorize entire families and communities," Dr. Sergewa said. "The women I spoke to say they believed they were raped because their husbands and brothers were fighting Qaddafi."I think it is also to put shame on the tribes or the villages, to scare people into fleeing, and to say: 'We have raped your women,'" she said.Dr. Sergewa says women will continue to be targets of the militiamen, and this makes it all the more urgent to finish her study and get it published."We must throw light on what is really happening in Libya and fight to bring justice for these women, to help heal them psychologically," she said.Hmmmm......"The Arab winds of Change"?Chapter 33 verse 50 of the Koran:
"O Prophet! Lo! We have made lawful unto thee thy wives unto whom thou hast paid their dowries, and those whom thy right hand possesseth of those whom Allah hath given thee as spoils of war, and the daughters of thine uncle on the father's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the father's side, and the daughters of thine uncles on the mother's side and the daughters of thine aunts on the mother's side who emigrated with thee, and a believing woman if she give herself unto the Prophet and the Prophet desire to ask her in marriage a privilege for thee only, not for the [rest of] believers. We are aware of that which We enjoined upon them concerning their wives and those whom their right hand possess that thou mayst be free from blame, for Allah is Forgiving, Merciful." Read the full story here.
- "Turks in Berlin"Forces German University to Cancel Speech on Armenian Genocide.(StopTurkey).Stuttgart university was scheduled to host a speech and discussion event today on the theme of "Persecution, Expulsion and Annihilation of Christians in the Ottoman Empire 1912-1922". At the last minute, however, the university cancelled the event booking. When asked why, the rector of the university, Prof.-Dr. Ing. Wolfram Ressel, said that they had come under pressure from "Turks in Berlin" and that the university wished to "remain neutral". Remain neutral on the Armenian genocide?The event had been organised by a coalition of non-profit organisations, including the Association of Greeks from Pontos in Europe, the Assyrian Democratic Organisation - Central Europe Section and the Working Group on the Recognition of Genocide for Understanding Between Peoples. They issued a statement on what had occurred.The associations concerned consider it regrettable in the extreme that almost one hundreds years after the genocide of the Armenians, Assyrians/Arameans and Greeks in the then Ottoman empire that a German university does not have the courage to rent a room for a commemoration and information event intended to come to terms with this crime and thus serve the purpose of preventing future genocides. "For crimes, there can in principle be no possibility of retreating to supposedly neutral positions. The circumstances that Turkey, to this day, officially disputes the genocide of more than three million Ottoman citizens of the Christian faith and strikes to prevent public consideration of it even abroad can also not be allowed to govern the actions of a German university."Hmmmm.......Erdogan "Muslims don't commit Genocide".Read the full story here.
- "The War on Christianity ".Turkey's Christians under Siege.By .John Eibner, chief executive officer of Christian Solidarity International-USA, focuses on religious and ethnic conflict, mainly in the Middle East, North-East Africa and Eastern Europe. He has visited these regions on numerous human rights fact-finding and humanitarian aid missions.A Must Read.Read the full story here.
- "The War on Christianity".Algerian Christian Given Five Year Prison Sentence for Blasphemy.(Aina).Washington -- International Christian Concern (ICC) has learned that an Algerian Christian was sentenced to five years imprisonment for blasphemy in Oran on Wednesday after sharing his Christian faith with a neighbor. The verdict came days after authorities forced the permanent closure of seven Protestant churches in Algeria's Béjaia province.Siagh Krimo was charged by the Criminal Court of the Djamel District in Oran, who based their decision on Article 144 bis 2 of the Penal Code which criminalizes acts that "insult the prophet and any of the messengers of God, or denigrate the creed and precepts of Islam, whether by writing, drawing, declaration, or any other means." Krimo has ten days to appeal the sentence.Krimo, who is married with a nine month old child, was arrested on April 14, along with another Christian, Sofiane, after sharing his Christian faith with a neighbor. Sofiane was released soon after the arrest, while Krimo was detained for three days. Krimo was known to hold weekly prayer services at his home, which Algerian Christians suspect were being closely monitored by the police.The prosecutor at Krimo's trial, held on May 4, failed to present as a witness the neighbor who accused Krimo of proselytizing and making defamatory statements against the Muslim prophet Mohammad. Algerian Christians were hopeful that Krimo would be acquitted of all charges. "Good news, the judge, after having invited Krimo to use wisdom and return to Islam, has ended the affair," an Algerian church leader in Tizi Ouzou told ICC on May 4. "We hope this will end well."The prosecutor, doubtful he would win the case on so little evidence, reportedly asked the judge to have Krimo's sentence reduced to a two year imprisonment and a fine of 50,000 Algerian dinar. However, some believe that higher authorities in the Algerian government were involved in reaching the final decision. "The judge would have normally acquitted Krimo of all charges, but I think he received an order from his superiors to strike hard," said an Algerian representative of the Association of Protestant Churches (EPA).Krimo's sentence follows an order received by the EPA on May 22 to close seven Protestant churches in the province of Béjaia. The notice stated the churches are to be closed in accordance with Ordinance 06-03, which requires churches to obtain government permission to hold services. Though the EPA has made efforts to comply with the ordinance, the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Religious Affairs have refused to register churches or to approve permits quickly.Aidan Clay, ICC Regional Manager for the Middle East, said, "Algerian Christians have been under attack in recent weeks as laws have been increasingly enforced to discriminate against them. Earlier this week, seven churches in Béjaia were ordered to close. Now, an Algerian Christian is on the verge of being unjustly imprisoned for accusations of criticizing Islam. While Algeria professes that it upholds religious freedom, it also embraces a blasphemy law that, by its very nature, can be used to prosecute anyone who does not adhere to the religion of Islam. We urge Algeria to acquit Siagh of all charges and repeal Article 144 bis 2 of the Penal Code."Hmmmm.......Religious freedom?Yeah whatevah!Read the full story here.
- Saudi Arabia - Handcuffed teenager manages to kill policeman that alledgly tried to rape him.(Emirates247).A handcuffed Kuwaiti teenager killed a policeman by hitting him on the head with a rock, claiming the uniformed man tried to rape him, a newspaper in the oil-rich Gulf emirate reported on Saturday.The 16-year-old boy said he was returning home in the capital Kuwait City when the police man stopped him and asked for his identity card.When he replied that his ID was at home, the police man handcuffed his hand to the boy’s left hand and wanted to take him to the police centre.“The boy said the police man then tried to rape him…he picked a rock and hit the police man on his head until he was dead,” Alanba Arabic language daily said.“The boy then phoned his mother, who phoned the police centre…they found the boy sitting near the dead police man with their hands still cuffed.Read the full story here.
- Syria Live Blog - May 25. Here .(Al-Jazeera).
- Libya Live Blog - May 23. Here (Al-Jazeera).
- Breaking - Reports say Libya ceasefire talks are under way. More soon ...
- Yemen Live Blog - May 27 . Here. (Al-Jazeera).
- Updated !Earthquakes in the last 24 hours in the world seismic activity in Japan today 4.7 ! Lots of activity in Turkey.More info here.
- Japan - Latest official Situation Update No. 120.Source : Here .
- Japan : For the most accurate info on the nuclear disaster go to : Paul Langley's Nuclear History Blog.Here.
- Updated- Libya 'ceasefire talks under way'! Libyan deputy foreign minister hints at ongoing secret talks between UK and Gaddafi's government to end the fighting.Secret channels are being opened between the government of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the UK over a possible ceasefire, sources have told Al Jazeera.Abdelati al-Obeidi, the Libyan deputy foreign minister, who has been leading the government's diplomacy after Musa Kousa, the foreign minister, defected, gave hints on Saturday to Al Jazeera's James Bays about the secret talks to end the war.The Al Jazeera correspondent, who spoke to al-Obeidi on a flight to the southern Tunisian town of Djerba, said the Libyan official was quite guarded in his approach."The deputy foreign minister did admit that he had come for talks which have been taking place with British officials. He could not say what the talks were about but did say it was an exchange of views and a channel of communication being opened by them," he said.Though he denied that there was any talk of an exit strategy for Gaddafi, he said the government was willing to talk to the opposition in Benghazi, our correspondent said.He quoted al-Obeidi as saying: "We want to end this war and he want to end soon."Read the full story here.
- Sen. Jim DeMint: President has Stocked NLRB with 'Union Thugs'.(WeeklyStandard).Senator Jim DeMint, R-S.C., sat down for an interview with Coffee and Markets, a podcast hosted by Brad Jackson and Ben Domenech. When asked about the National Labor Relations Board's attempt to keep Boeing from building a factory in his state, DeMint had some exceptionally harsh words for the NLRB:
DeMint: I mean, they’ll lose the first couple of appeals because they go back to the board that the President has stocked with union thugs basically, and –
Cianfrocca: “Union thugs”, may we quote you? That’s a great word.
DeMint: Once this gets in front of a fair and impartial judge they’ll win, but it’s only after millions of dollars in legal expenses and several years of chilling effect.
DeMint: What they’re trying to do is to tell any company in America, don’t even think about moving to a right to work state or expanding to a right to work state or you’re going to have to go through millions of dollars of legal expenses and this type of government harassment. It’s pretty amazing in America that we’re dealing with this type of third world tyranny.Hmmmmm.....Finally someone with true grit.Read the full story here.
- Did you feel the shock?6 million Jews just turned around in their graves!Obama lays wreath in Warsaw Ghetto.President Barack Obama on Friday honored the memories of those slain in the Warsaw Ghetto uprising against Nazis, telling one elderly man that the memorial was a "reminder of the nightmare" of the Holocaust in which millions of Jews were killed. In the final phase of his European trip, the president greeted Holocaust survivors and leaders of Poland's Jewish community at the Monument to the Ghetto Heroes. He smiled, shook hands and hugged those gathered under a light rain, including some who shared memories of having met Obama at earlier times. "What a wonderful visit. I'll have to bring my daughters," Obama said as he exited the memorial. The monument in the former Jewish ghetto commemorates the tens of thousands of Jews killed in a 1943 uprising against the Nazis during Germany's brutal occupation of Poland during World War II. Most of the insurgents in that uprising were killed, but the event bears great importance in Jewish history as an example of Jews bravely taking up arms, albeit against the odds, to defend themselves against the Nazis. It's also a key memorial in a country that before the Holocaust was home to Europe's largest Jewish community. A leading member of the Jewish community, Monika Krawczyk, was heard urging Obama to do all he can to support Israel, saying: "It's the only Jewish state we have." Obama assured her that the United States would be there for Israel.Hmmmm.....Perhaps his wife doesn't need to see it?Be sure he'll do all he can to destroy Israel!Just give me your Jewish cash i'll 'fix' Israel.Read the full story here.
- Dramatic footage shows moment Iraq war vet was shot 70 times in home... as report reveals he did NOT open fire on SWAT team.(DailyMail).A U.S. Marine who was killed when he was gunned down in his home near Tucson, Arizona, never fired on the SWAT team that stormed his house firing 70 times in a hail of bullets, a report has revealed.The revelation came as dramatic footage of the shooting was released, showing the armed team pounding down the door of Jose Guerena's home and opening fire.The father-of-two, who had served twice in Iraq, died on May 5 after the SWAT team descended on his home believing it was one of four houses associated with a drug smuggling operation.The terrifying footage shows the uniformed team pulling up outside Jose Guerena's home, sounding their sirens and banging on the door before kicking it in.The sound of bullets then rings out as they open fire shortly after entering the home.A police investigation revealed that officers fired more than 70 shots.Deputies said they opened fire after Guerena, 26, gestured at them with an AR-15, according to the report.Some of the officers said they believed that Guerena fired on them, but the investigation showed that no shots were fired from the weapon and it was never taken off the safety position.Police allege that the former Marine was involved in drug smuggling, robbery and human smuggling.But a search of the home found nothing illegal. Officers found a handgun and body armour in the house.The five SWAT team members remain on active duty. No criminal charges have been filed and no disciplinary action taken.Mr Guerena's wife, Vanessa, said she heard her husband moaning as he lay dying, his body struck by 22 of the bullets.Ms Guerena told ABC News: 'I saw his stomach, all the blood on the floor'.She said her goal now is to 'clear his good name'. Ms Guerena said their son Joel keeps asking about his deceased father, 'Is he a bad guy?'Reyna Ortiz, 29, a relative of the family, told reporters: 'She saw a man pointing at her with a gun. She yelled, "Don't shoot! I have a baby!"'Ms Guerena alleges that she thought it was a criminal assault, since two members of her sister-in-law's family, Cynthia and Manny Orozco, had been killed last year in their Tucson home.Ms Guerena said she shouted for her husband, who told her to take young Joel and hide in a closet. After the shooting, Ms Guerena says she emerged from the closet. 'They came into the house to get me,' she told ABC reporters.She told a 9-11 operator: 'They were... going to shoot me. And I put my kid in front of me', according to ABC.Crying, she also told the operator: 'He's on the floor! Can you please hurry up?'When she encountered the SWAT team, 'the only thing I told them was take care of him, take him to a hospital,' Ms Guerena told ABC.An ambulance reportedly arrived in a few minutes, but medical personnel were not allowed inside to see Mr Guerena for an hour and 14 minutes, the family's attorney, Chris Scileppi, told ABC News affiliate KGUN.In contrast, it took responders only 12 minutes to address Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in Tucson in January, according to Mr Scileppi.Mr Storie defended the SWAT team's actions, saying, 'They still don't know how many shooters are inside, how many guns are inside and they still have to assume that they will be ambushed if they walk in this house'.Mr Scileppi accused officers of 'circling their wagons'. 'The pieces don't fit. I think it was poor planning, overreaction and now they're trying to CYA', Scileppi told ABC.Mr Guerena served two tours of duty in Iraq, until he left the Marines in 2006. He had been working for a mining company in the Tucson area.ABC interviewed his former commander, Sergeant Leo Verdugo, who told them he 'definitely pulled his weight'.'I have a hard time grasping how something so tragic could happen', he told the network.The Guerena's oldest boy, Jose, turns 6 Tuesday. Ms Ortiz told ABC, 'He went to school, came back and never saw his daddy again. He's asking, "Why did the police kill my daddy?"'We were so worried when he was over there fighting terrorism, but he gets shot in his own home. The government killed one of their own', Ms Ortiz said.Mr Guerena was buried in his Marine dress blue uniform.Hmmmm.....Now, consider the raid on a south Florida Mosque at about 6:00 a.m. Saturday by dozens of heavily armed federal agents. They pounded on the door of the Masjid Jamaat Al-Mumineen mosque in Miami-Dade county, armed with warrants for Muslims who are suspected of a long-running conspiracy to murder, maim and kidnap people overseas in support of the Taliban. As morning prayers were in progress inside the mosque, the armed agents respectfully waited until the prayers ended, and then entered the mosque only after removing their footwear.The raid at the mosque resulted in three arrests: Imam Hafiz Muhammed Sher Ali Khan and his two sons, Izhar Khan and Irfan Khan. Irfan Khan was arrested in Los Angeles.Any thoughts?I have the answer "CHANGE"!Read the full story here.
- Israel's FM tells Canadian counterpart John Baird "Canada is a true friend of Israel".(JPost).Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman spoke with Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird during a telephone conversation on Friday and thanked him and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper for their pro-Israel stance at the G8 summit. Lieberman said during the conversation that "Canada is a true friend of Israel."Group of Eight leaders had to soften a statement urging Israel and the Palestinians to return to negotiations because Canada objected to a specific mention of 1967 borders, diplomats said on Friday.Canada's right-leaning Conservative government has adopted a staunchly pro-Israel position in international negotiations since coming to power in 2006, with Harper saying Canada will back Israel whatever the cost.Diplomats involved in Middle East discussions at the G8 summit said Ottawa had insisted that no mention of Israel's pre-1967 borders be made in the leaders' final communique, even though most of the other leaders wanted a mention.A spokesman for Harper would not comment on the line Canada had taken, saying only that the final communique would make positions clear.In the final communique, a copy of which was obtained by Reuters, the leaders call for the immediate resumption of peace talks but do not mention 1967, the year Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza from Jordan and Egypt during the Six-Day War."Negotiations are the only way toward a comprehensive and lasting resolution to the conflict," the communique said."The framework for these negotiations is well known. We urge both parties to return to substantive talks with a view to concluding a framework agreement on all final status issues."To that effect, we express our strong support for the vision of Israeli-Palestinian peace outlined by President Obama on May 19, 2011."In his speech last week, Obama said pre-1967 borders should be a basis of talks to achieve a negotiated settlement, although he also acknowledged any agreement would ultimately involve land swaps on either side of the border.Canada's strong backing for Israel was cited by diplomats last year as one reason why Ottawa failed to win a rotating two-year seat on the United Nations Security Council.Harper has made is position on Israel very clear, saying last year: "When Israel, the only country in the world whose very existence is under attack, is consistently and conspicuously singled out for condemnation, I believe we are morally obligated to take a stand." Hmmmm.....Hear,Hear, Hear!Read the full story here.
- Has HAARP gotten out of control?Congress Notified About HAARP Rings And Severe Weather.(LogisticsMonster).For those that have not been following Dutchsinse’s YouTube channel and his amazing predictions of severe weather based on ‘HAARP rings’ appearing on radar, you might want to subscribe and check out his new website. As far as I can tell, he has 100% accuracy since I ran across him some six weeks ago. I have watched as he has nailed the St. Louis tornado, the Tuscaloosa tornados, Joplin’s monster, and now the twisters in Oklahoma. Please keep in mind that when folks no longer have a place to live and have lost family members, they aren’t usually as politically active as they might once have been; but I digress….Now, one of his subscribers has written to her congressman asking about this technology and an congressional investigation into it’s uses.Hmmmm....Weather modification I should think is serious business.HAARP has that ability.Read and see the full story here.
- Mubarak, two ex-ministers fined $90 million for "telecom shutdown".(Al-Arabia).A Cairo court on Saturday fined ousted President Hosni Mubarak and two ex-ministers $90 million dollars for "damaging the economy" with a telephone and Internet shutdown during Egypt's uprising, according to a report by the Associated Press.A Cairo court on Saturday fined former President Hosni Mubarak and two of his ministers $90 million for “damaging the economy” by shutting down telephone lines during the January uprisings.Mr. Mubarak and his Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif along with Interior Minister Habib Al Adly have been ordered to jointly pay the state 540 million Egyptian pounds “from their personal funds” said a judicial source. They were charged with "damaging the economy after their decision to cut Internet and telephone services” during the three-week uprisings that ultimately led to Mr. Mubarak’s downfall on February 11. Mr. Mubarak and his family face a host of charges of corruption and misappropriating public funds. The 82-year-old former president and Mr. Adly are also charged with ordering the shootings of protestors in the uprising.Read the full 'lunacy' story here.
- Kuwait seizes Iraq airline assets in Jordan-officials.(Al-Arabia).Kuwait has seized assets of Iraq's national airline in Jordan, Iraqi officials said on Saturday, the latest step in a row between the neighboring states over war reparations.Iraqi Airways has filed an appeal against the decision in Jordan, said Karim al-Nuri, a media adviser to the Iraqi Transportation Ministry.Mr. al-Nuri said Kuwaiti authorities seized the Iraqi Airways office in the Jordanian capital after obtaining a ruling from a court there."Two days ago, the Iraqi Airways' office in Amman has been seized (by Kuwait) and $1.5 million of its assets have been frozen," he told Reuters by telephone.Kuwaiti officials could not be reached for comment.Baghdad and Kuwait have been locked in a long-running dispute over billions of dollars in reparations from Iraq, including some $1.2 billion related to aircraft and parts seized during former dictator Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.The dispute is between Kuwait Airways Corp and Iraqi Airways, both of which are state owned."This a serious step, and it will legitimize unacceptable mistakes in the future," Mr. al-Nuri said, adding that Iraqi Airways will continue flying to Jordan despite the freeze.Last year, Kuwait tried to seize one of the Iraqi carrier's planes in London after obtaining a High Court order against Iraqi Airways that including freezing its assets worldwide. The airline has halted flights to Britain and Sweden under threat that its planes would be seized by Kuwait. "Unfortunately, so far talks with the Kuwaiti authorities have failed to resolve this issue," said Nasir al-Amiri, an advisor for the Iraqi Transportation Ministry. "We cannot see a solution on the horizon."In May last year, Iraq's government said it would dissolve Iraqi Airways over the next three years and pursue private options to dodge asset claims made by Kuwait over their 1990-91 war. Read the full story here.
- Iran "Can you spare a Bell or nine"?(Newsmax).The arrest on Thursday of five Spanish businessmen and three Iranians allegedly planning to smuggle into Iran military helicopters formerly owned by Israel sparks concerns over the possible use of nuclear-armed cruise missiles by Tehran's Islamist regime.Some nine U.S.-manufactured Bell 212 helicopters were seized in Madrid and Barcelona, according to Spain's interior ministry. The sale of such vehicles to Iran violates the United Nations' arms embargo against Tehran, whose nuclear program is believed to be geared toward producing atomic bombs.Five years ago, Iran successfully test-fired in the Persian Gulf its "Noor" long-range cruise missile, based on China's C-802 anti-ship cruise design. The launch platform utilized in the April 2006 test was believed to be a Russian Mil-17 helicopter. The Noor has a range of 200 kilometers, reportedly with no need of an over-the-horizon targeting system. Its velocity is twice the speed of sound, it travels just a few yards above water, and it is close to undetectable by radar. The Noor's single-shot kill probability has been estimated at nearly 98 percent.Israel's Delilah cruise missile, with a range of 250 kilometers and which can be fitted with a variety of warheads, can similarly be launched from Israel's U.S.-made Sikorsky helicopters. The Jerusalem Post reports that Israel had used the Bell-212 military transports until the 1990s when it purchased Sikorskys as replacements.Hezbollah guerrillas in 2006 attacked an Israeli military ship with Iranian-made Noor missiles fired from the Lebanese shore. The terrorist group is believed to possess dozens of Noor cruise missiles.The use of nuclear devices by an Islamist terrorist group is one of the chief fears of Iran, a terrorist client state, becoming a nuclear power.A year ago it was revealed in an Israeli multinational ballistic missile defense conference that Tehran had improved a Ukrainian-supplied Russian KH-55 nuclear-capable cruise missile, about a dozen of which Iran apparently covertly received between 1999 and 2001.The Israeli defense ministry reportedly sold the Bell choppers, after years of Israeli air force use, to a Spanish businessman who intended to sell them for use in fire-fighting within Spain. When the copters were judged unsuitable for such use, he apparently turned to Iran.For any country other than Iran, helicopters would be considered to be of little danger. For a regime doggedly pursuing both nuclear capabilities and missile development, however, another model of military helicopter to be used as a missile launch test platform could be the last piece of the puzzle leading to successful atomic aggression.Read the full story here.
- Ahmadinejad camp: Mahdi to Secretly Appear on June 5.(WorldThreats).Reza Kahlili has broken another important story. Critics of Ahmadinejad’s camp are referring to them as “The Deviant Movement” for their beliefs regarding the Mahdi. One of the officials in the “Deviant Movement” has said that a decisive moment is about to happen that will benefit them. Khamenei loyalists are claiming that the Deviants believe that the Mahdi will secretly appear in Medina, Saudi Arabia on June 5. The Mahdi will then take 1 to 3 years to officially reveal himself.However, one of the Khamenei loyalists, Ali Mottahari, claims that Ahmadinejad believes this “covert emergence” has already happened and it explains why he is disobeying Khamenei:Ahmadinejad believes that the covert emergence has, in fact, occurred. Therefore, he acts like he no longer needs the supreme leader and that he can disobey him, as he is taking his orders directly from the Mahdi himself.Another supporter of Khamenei, Mehdi Khazali, is saying that the Persian month of Khordaad that goes from May 21 to June 21, will be one of political strife within Iran.The pro-Khamenei enemies of Ahmadinejad have received some sort of information that is scaring them, that is for sure. It is risky for an official to say something will happen within a specific timeframe.At the same time, however, Iran’s backing down from confrontation with Bahrain makes me question whether the regime really is looking for a fight.It also raises questions about the film produced by the regime, The Coming is Upon Us. If the regime believes that Khamenei, Ahmadinejad and Nasrallah were foretold in Islamic prophecy and are tasked with jointly making the Mahdi appear, then why does a power struggle exist?It’s becoming more difficult to analyze the political situation inside Iran, but it is undeniable that there are major splits and divisions that are bound to get worse.Hmmmm.......The inmates are running the asylum.Read the full story here.
- Saudis crack down on activists for women's driving rights.(USAToday).A female activist who is leading the fight to give Saudi women the right to drive is going to be held in detention for at least 10 more days after she defied the ban.Manal al-Sherif, a 32-year-old information-technology expert, is accused of "violating public order." She started a Facebook campaign urging Saudi women to get behind the wheel to protest the longtime driving ban and did so herself, posting the video on the Internet and launched an online campaign urging Saudi Arabian women to stage a mass driving protest on June. 17, the Associated Press reports. She was arrested Sunday.The AP says Saudi rulers have cracked down harder than usual on al-Sherif, after seeing her case become a rallying call for youths anxious for change. At present, women have to depend on male drivers, like the woman in the photo above, when they travel by car.On Thursday, the prosecutor general of the Eastern Province extended her detention for another 10 days while an investigation is in progress, said lawyer Waleed Aboul Khair."This is a message that any woman who dares to drive her car will face the same destiny," Aboul Khair said. Her arrest has drawn criticism from international and local rights groups and has spurred more women to drive and post videos of themselves behind the wheel.Hmmmm.....As i said who holds the keys?Read the full story here.